Don't fall for modern-day Peeping Tom - Criminologist

01 Dec 2023 08:08pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - A concerning trend has emerged recently, exposing the deceptive tactics of an individual posing as 'authorities' on the widely used messaging platform, Telegram.

This imposter has specifically targeted unsuspecting women, exploiting their trust to solicit and misuse their private information for personal gain.

Forensic criminologist Nadiah Syariani Shariff urges a proactive approach to protect individuals from falling victim to such scams.

She suggests that women meticulously check and verify the backgrounds of individuals providing services, particularly certified lactation consultants.

“Nowadays, there are numbers of certified lactation consultants, therefore, first, it is best to get referrals from hospitals and clinics, or from peers who had received consultation.

“This is not only one way to verify the profile, but also another way to get feedback and review if the service meets your needs and personal preferences regarding how the service is provided, success reviews and budgets,” she told Sinar Daily when contacted today.

She further explains that verifying the consultant's profile serves a dual purpose: it not only authenticates their identity but also opens up avenues for obtaining feedback and reviews.

Evaluating the service against personal needs, preferences, success reviews, and budget considerations becomes possible.

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Nadiah adds that identifying these 'weirdos' can be challenging due to the anonymity of online communication.

However, certain red flags can be identified, such as deviations from the original purpose of communication, excessive personal inquiries, or unwarranted requests.

“Identifying these weirdos may be challenging and it always has when it comes to online communication.

“This is because one can always remain anonymous as it involves faceless interaction, which means there are many missing cues that could have not been identified compared to face-to-face communication.

“This is not to mention the challenge when it comes to fake profiles, creating multiple accounts or phone numbers, etc,” Nadiah added.

The Management and Science University’s Forensic Science Programme lecturer said a prudent step before committing to further sessions is to meet the consultant face-to-face, ensuring comfort in disclosing private matters.

By implementing preventive measures early on, individuals can safeguard themselves from falling victim to such deceptive practices in the online sphere, she said.

"Staying vigilant and recognising these warning signs becomes crucial in maintaining personal security and avoiding potentially harmful situations," she added.

Previously, a netizen going by the handle @seriovslydot on Twitter exposed the unsettling act of impersonation.

The individual appears to be actively seeking victims on the internet while pretending to be a male lactation consultant on Telegram.

In a tweet, @seriovslydot expressed her displeasure with the events that transpired and expressed her fury.

"This is so sudden like, breastfeeding consultant? I didn't contact any LC (lactation consultants) either.

"Your action by texting me using Telegram looks ridiculous," she exclaimed in one of her posts, accompanied by screenshots of the conversation with the scammer.

The fraudster identified themselves as Atiqah, a nursing counsellor, and contacted her over Telegram.

They even went so far as to explain that part of their duty was to approach expectant mothers and nursing moms.

In another account of her unsettling experience posted on TikTok, @seriovslydot described how she became wary of someone who suddenly made contact, finding it confusing because she hadn't contacted a lactation consultant herself.

Another reported scam involved an individual claiming to have received a fraud message via Instagram that stated their images and confidential information were being posted on a private Telegram group.

However, the trap became apparent when the link led to a fake Facebook login page, requesting the individual's phone number and OTP.